Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer
We help families through the toughest family law & divorce issues
At Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, we understand the effects that contentious family law and divorce issues can have on our clients. A family law matter that is not resolved in a professional and efficient manner can be emotional, expensive, and damaging to your family and your life. Our goal is to help you make it through this difficult time and seek a swift resolution with minimal court involvement. We prepare for victory by establishing a quality plan that emphasizes the areas that are most important to you. Our attentive Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer works individually with you to resolve your high-conflict family law matter.
Our lawyers can handle a wide variety of cases related to divorce as well as other family law matters. If you have a family law issue that you do not see listed below, please do not hesitate to call us. Chances are, we can help. Areas of family law that we have experience in include:
While divorce is one of the most common issues that our lawyers handle, many of the other issues above—like paternity, alimony, and prenuptial agreements, are extremely important for individuals and families in Fort Lauderdale. Without the advice and advocacy of a legal professional, these issues may not be resolved in your favor – taking the risk of representing yourself during a family law matter is simply not worth it.
Helping Fort Lauderdale Residents Through High-Conflict Divorce In Florida
If you are going through a dissolution of marriage proceeding, you are facing difficult decisions that influence your family’s future. You may need our Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer to counsel you and answer your many questions on issues related to:
- Child custody — Fort Lauderdale child custody matters often bring very high-conflict issues. For parents who are going through a divorce, retaining custody of their children is often one of the most—if not the most—important issues. We always put your children first, and tirelessly advocate for their best interests. We offer strategic advocacy to show how you are the more appropriate custodial parent for your children, and can help you to demonstrate to the court why your children’s best interests are served if you are granted full custody.
- Child support — Fort Lauderdale child support is often fiercely litigated because payments last until the children reach 18 years of age. We likewise always put your children’s best interests first when it comes to support payments. We make sure that your children receive everything they need without wasteful spending. We can advocate for you whether your are the parent in need of support or the parent responsible for paying child support.
- Domestic violence — If you are the victim of Fort Lauderdale domestic violence, you need to find a safe place to stay. Once you have done so, please contact us for additional support. We can petition for an order of protection on your behalf to ensure that your abuser leaves you alone. We can also help you to receive a temporary order of support or custody of your children so that your whole family is protected.
Our Fort Lauderdale family lawyers are highly experienced in the most contentious of divorces. Our experienced firm offers high-quality representation that works to resolve your issues.
Florida Divorce Process
Attentive representation when you file for divorce in Florida
At Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, we efficiently guide you through the divorce process so that you can begin to rebuild your life and identity. Whether your divorce is a simple uncontested divorce or a complex contested divorce with children, we offer high-quality, strategic advocacy for your dissolution of marriage. Let our Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer explain the Florida divorce process to you.
What are the requirements for divorce in Florida?
As a no-fault divorce state, Florida does not require you to allege or prove that your spouse did something to end the marriage. To file for divorce in Florida you must:
- Establish one of the following grounds for divorce:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken.
- One party demonstrated mental incapacity for the preceding three years.
- Prove that you are a Florida resident by providing:
- Evidence that you have lived in Florida for at least six months
- A valid Florida drivers license
- A voter registration card
- A Florida identification card
- Testimony of a third party
What are the steps for an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested dissolution of marriage can be granted immediately in Florida if children are not involved and your spouse does not deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken. To receive an uncontested divorce:
- Both parties negotiate as to the division of marital property, child support, child visitation, education of the children, spousal support (alimony) and any other particulars of the dissolution.
- The lawyers then draft a marital settlement agreement (MSA). Note that while MSAs are typically accepted by the court, the court is not required to accept an MSA if it is unfair to one party.
How is a contested divorce different from an uncontested divorce?
If you have dependent children from your marriage or your spouse answers that the marriage is not irretrievably broken, then the divorce process can take significantly longer. The court may:
- Issue a continuance for a maximum of three months to give the spouses time to reconcile
- Order marriage counseling by a qualified counselor such as a marriage counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, minister, priest or rabbi
- Take any other action necessary to protect the best interests of the children and spouses
During this time, the court often issues orders for spousal support, the parenting plan, child custody, property division, enforcement of prenuptial agreements and more. Following the continuance, if the spouses have not reconciled, the court typically approves the request for dissolution if the marriage is still irretrievably broken.
Resolving ancillary matters
After you have met the residency requirements for divorce and filed a petition, the court will still not finalize your divorce unless a variety of ancillary issues are settled. The following are only a few examples of matters that must be settled as part of the divorce process in Florida:
- Division of property and debts — Married couples can often acquire a large amount of property and assets, as well as debts. In many cases, the biggest property division issue will be what happens to the family home. However, many other types of property will need to be equitably divided including furniture, vehicles, vacation properties, personal property, business interests, retirement and investment accounts, and more. In addition, debts must be equitably divided and can include student loans, credit cards, personal loans, among others.
- Child custody and parenting plans — If you have children, the court requires that you settle all arrangements regarding custody, visitation, and parenting prior to a divorce being final. Custody and visitation schedules are approved based on what is in the best interests of the child. Such decisions can involve many factors including the child’s relationship with each parent, where the parents live, where the child goes to school, and more. You must also develop a parenting plan that provides detailed guidelines for possible parenting disputes that may arise following the divorce.
- Child and spousal support — Another major issue in a divorce is that of support from one parent/spouse to the other. Because each parent has a duty to financially support their child–regardless of custody or visitation rights–child support is ordered in the large majority of divorce cases involving children. Support is calculated by a specific formula based on your income and other factors, though the court can deviate from that amount in certain situations for a more fair and just result. Spousal support may also be awarded, usually on a temporary basis, if there is a significant financial disparity between the spouses after a divorce.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on resolutions to all of the necessary issues, you may opt to participate in divorce mediation or other negotiations through your divorce lawyers. If negotiations are not successful, you will have to go to court and present your arguments for the court to decide how the disputes will be resolved. This can significantly extend the length of time it takes to finalize your divorce.
The agreements or court orders regarding all of the above matters will be memorialized as part of your final divorce judgment and can be enforced as any other type of court order. If, in the future, an order needs to be modified, you can return to the court that oversaw your divorce and request that it modifies the order accordingly. Because many people may require a modification at some point, many divorce cases are not completely over even years after the dissolution of marriage is granted. Our dedicated divorce attorneys will represent you every step of the way throughout the divorce process and beyond, if needed.
Contact Our Experienced Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyers
A Fort Lauderdale family law issue or other civil litigation issue can cause significant stress and uncertainty. When your family or your business is in the midst of a legal conflict, you need a professional on your side who will advocate for you. We will work hard on your behalf, regardless of the scope of the issue, and will guide you through every stop of the family or civil law issues. If you want an experienced law firm on your side that you can trust, look no further than our Fort Lauderdale family law & divorce lawyers. With a large staff behind us, we can handle the full breadth of your legal issue, from research to recovering the proper documents to filing your paperwork to presenting your case before a judge and more. If you have any questions, do not wait to call us today – your first consultation with us is always free.
Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with Saturday appointments available upon request. For your free initial consultation, call us today at 954-800-2362 or contact us online. We look forward to working with you!